Practicing Devotion to the Divine Mother

July 1, 2021 • 4 min

From The Glories of Mary, page 643
By St. Alphonsus Liguori


The queen of heaven is so liberal, as St. Andrew of Crete says, that she makes a large return for the smallest devotions of her servants. But two conditions are necessary for this:

First, that we offer her the homage of a soul pure from sin; for otherwise Mary will say to us what she said to a soldier, a man of vicious habits, who, as St. Peter Celestine relates, offered every day a devotion to the Virgin. One day when he was suffering greatly from hunger, our Lady appeared to him, and presented him some exquisite viands, but in a vase so filthy that he did not venture to taste them. “I am the mother of God,” Mary then said to him, “who has come to relieve thy hunger.” “But I cannot taste from this vase,” answered the soldier. “And do you wish,” replied Mary, “that I should accept thy devotions, offered me from a soul so polluted?” The soldier, at these words, was converted, be came a hermit, lived thirty years in the desert, and at death the Virgin again appeared to him and conducted him to heaven.

We have said, in the first part of this work, that morally speaking it was impossible that a servant of Mary should be lost. But this must be understood with the condition, that he lives without sin, or at least that he wishes to abandon it, for then our Lady will assist him. But if any one, on the other hand, should sin, in the hope that our Lady will save him, he would by his sin render himself unworthy and incapable of the protection of Mary.

The second condition is, that he perseveres in his devotion to Mary. Perseverance alone shall merit a crown, says St. Bernard. Thomas a Kempis, when a young man, was accustomed daily to have recourse to the Virgin with certain prayers; one day he omitted them, then he omitted them for some weeks, then he gave them up entirely. One night he saw Mary in a dream, who embraced his companions, but having come to him, said: “What do you expect, who have given up your devotions? Depart, for you are unworthy of my favors.” Terrified by these words, Thomas awoke, and resumed his accustomed prayers.

Richard therefore with reason says: He who is perseveringly devoted to Mary will be blessed with the hope, that all his desires may be gratified. But as no one can be secure of this perseverance, no one can be sure of salvation before his death. It was a very remarkable document which brother John Berchmans, of the Company of Jesus, gave to his companions, when he was requested by them to leave with them in writing, what was the most pleasing devotion which they could make to our Lady, in order to obtain her protection, and he answered: Any small thing, but let it be constant.

Finally, however, I add here, simply and in a few words, the different devotions we may offer to our mother, to obtain for us her favor; a thing which I consider the most useful that I have written in this little work. But I do not so much recommend to my reader to practise them all, as to practise those which he selects, with perseverance, and in fear of losing the protection of the divine mother, if he neglects to continue them. Oh, how many who are in hell would have been saved, if they had continued the devotions which they once commenced to Mary!

(The following chapters in the Glories of Mary describe each devotion.)

For footnotes and Latin quotes, see the book scan linked above.

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